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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada




August 26, 1971

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report MRS 60)




The dauphin fauxbourg is that area shown on plan 739-2 extending from the Dauphin gate to the western end of the barachois, where the road crossed a short causeway to the north shore.

The passage is also shown on this plan, and in this report the term passage will mean the area between the south shore and the long spit which extends from the north shore into the barachois. The French intended to build a second causeway here, and the modern causeway is in fact built across the passage.

The barachois lies between the passage and the causeway built by the French. Only the south shore of the barachois, however, seems to have been considered a part of the Dauphin fauxbourg.

The proposed causeway is referred to in the documents as a jettée avec un pont, avec un pont, a chaussée, a pont or a digue [NOTE 1]. The translation "causeway" has been chosen because it best describes the purpose of the proposed work.

The same words, a digue and chaussée, are also used with reference to the causeway which was built at the western end of the barachois. Again the term "causeway" is used because of its purpose, although the exact nature of the structure is not really known.

2 History - General

The fauxbourg seems to have been occupied at an early date. Plan 717-2 and the list of concessions granted by Costebelle and Soubras indicate that many inhabitants had been established there for a number of years [NOTE 1]. It is difficult to trace the development of settlement in the fauxbourg because no complete concession record was kept. A plan and an accurate measurement of each concession was supposed to be sent to the king in 1735, but no trace of either has been found [NOTE 2]. Concessions were still being granted in the 1740's, although most of these were not along the coast as the earlier ones had been [NOTE 3]. The number of buildings in the fauxbourg decreased as a result of the siege [NOTE 4] , but land transactions continued and new concessions were granted in the 1750's [NOTE 5].

The inhabitants of the fauxbourg represented most of the trades or classes found in the town. Some may have been retired, but many must have remained active in their trade Many of the inhabitants also owned property inside the town or along the north coast. (Lartigue, Paris, Lessenne, Daccarette, Fizel, Grandchamp, Larcher). Not all the property owners lived in the fauxbourg; thus, many houses were rented.

Fishing was an important occupation for many residents Most of the inhabitants had a garden, and it is possible that some market gardening was done Unfortunately, time has not permitted detailed research concerning the lives of the inhabitants of the fauxbourg The account for each concession contains whatever facts are presently known about the owner.

3. First Siege and Occupation

The Dauphin fauxbourg suffered during the First Siege, but was by no means completely destroyed  The French abandoned the fauxbourg on May 11, 1745, and began to burn the houses at about 11 o'clock in the morning, after the inhabitants had brought their effects into the town [NOTE 1].

The number of houses burned varies from one account to another. The English accounts range from "all ye houses without ye walls of ye city were burnt to ashes" [NOTE 2], through "they burnt many of the houses that stood outside of the west gate of the city" [NOTE 3], to "23 houses they Set on fire without the walls " [NOTE 4]. Duchambon stated that only the buildings from the Dauphin Gate to the barachois were taken down, and the wood brought into the town. Those which could not be demolished were burned to prevent the enemy from lodging in them [NOTE 5]. Girard La Croix indicated that, on May 15, the houses were burned, the shallops sunk and the garden pickets taken into the town [NOTE 6]. The demolition of the fauxbourg may not have been as orderly and thorough as these French accounts would imply. An English journalist claimed that "the fish flakes Lay between us and the west Gate [;we]] was forst to Beat them away with our Shott to have a fair Sight at the Gate " [NOTE 7]. Both the plan and the view on 745-1 confirm that the houses between the Dauphin Gate and the passage were burned or destroyed, but that those along the south shore of the barachois survived.

Those buildings which were not burned or dismantled were almost certainly occupied by the New Englanders, both during and after the siege. Girard La Croix states that the English used some for guard houses and that the commander lodged in one of these houses, masked up to the roof with stones [NOTE 8]. Dudley Bradstreet recorded visits to several houses during the siege:

June ye 1 1745 Saturday The Capt. and I went to Capt. Easmans House which is within Musket Shot of ye Citty we Tarry'd all night

             2d Sunday we went To Several Houses then Returned to Capt. Easmans and he went with us and we went into I Believe above 20 Houses .. [NOTE 9].

After the siege it would appear that the New Englanders remained in the fauxbourg area, probably until new barracks could be built. According to Seth Pomeroy, on June 29 O.S. "all our People moved from ye Camp up to Some of ye houses without ye walls of ye Citty" [NOTE 10].

In October and November of 1745, Chaplain Stephen Williams recorded making sick calls at the houses "out of the city ''[NOTE 11]

Although most of the siege works were located in the fauxbourg, it has been virtually impossible to relate them to known points with any accuracy.

One of the first batteries to be established was a mortar battery on the hauteur de Rabasse, near the barachois. This battery was erected on May 16, 5 days after the landing [NOTE 12] , and is probably the same as the one referred to in the following passage:

May 4th We began to fire from the Grand Battery . as likewise to bombard the Town from Green Hill. , but finding the nine and eleven Inch Mortars would not reach the City they were removed the 7th of May, and planted with Ten Coehorns at the distance of nine hundred Yards from the Citadel, where a Battery was erected the 10th of May of four 22 pounders ..." [NOTE 13].

This is the battery identified in the report on the First Siege as the "Cohorn Battery" [NOTE 14]. The only plan showing this battery is 745-6: "b, First Cannon & Mortar Battery of eight guns and ten Cohorns," It is known that Rabasse owned property along the barachois, (see infra, p. 36) but it has not been possible to locate this property with precision.

The Advanced Battery or Francoeur Battery [NOTE 15] has posed fewer problems. The location of Francoeur's property is known (see infra, p, 23 and Appendix B), and the battery is almost certainly that shown on plan 745-1 by the letter T and the numeral 8, It is shown on plan 745-6: "e, Advanc'd Cannon and Mortar Battery of 4 Guns", and on plan 745-16a: "Battery of Small Mortars."

 Second Siege and Occupation

The destruction of the fauxbourg was more complete during the Second Siege than during the First Siege. The French dismantled the fauxbourg more systematically than in 1745. The houses and boats were burned as far as the causeway on the 8th of June Wood from the demolished houses was again carried into the town. From June 10-13, the houses all around the bay were burned or dismantled, the chimneys were knocked down and the ruins of the burned houses cleared away to provide a good field of fire for the Aréthuze [NOTE 1].

The fauxbourg was occupied by the French Volontaires Strangers during the first weeks of the siege, and several skirmishes took place between the French and the English. By July 2, the French troops were pushed back as far as the causeway [NOTE 2].

The siege works built by the British professionals were more extensive than those of the New Englanders Their elaborate entrenchments are shown on plans 758-10, 758-12a, 758-14, 758-19, and 758-22

There must have been some buildings standing in the fauxbourg after the siege, because Nathaniel Knapp states that "we mov'd into another house Close up to the West Gate  [NOTE 3]. The only other mention of the Dauphin fauxbourg is in August 1759:

" . . also one hundred and fifety highlanders arived hear from N: York and Landed they Encamped out side ye west gate for their was no room in ye Citey for them . ."  [NOTE 4]

This does not necessarily mean, however, that the troops were lodged in houses.

5. Post-Occupation History

The post-occupation history of the fauxbourg is almost as incomplete as the earlier history. There are few accurate plans of the area, and the land policy of the governments concerned encouraged land-holding by squatter's rights rather than by deed [NOTE 1].

The only statement indicating the use to which the land was put is in 1809, when Pierce Kennedy was said to have an Extensive lot outside the Lines or walls, which he keeps under Cultivation of Hay, Grain and potatoes [NOTE 2].

The most accurate reconstruction of the history of the fauxbourg after 1760 seems to be the Department of Justice Abstract prepared in 1921, on the basis of which plan 922-1 must have been prepared. The parcels in question are 20, 21, 24, and 25. Almost all of these lots fell into the hands of John Lorway of Sydney in 1888, and were held by his heirs in 1921 [NOTE 3].

Parcels 20 and 21 were settled by Pierce Kennedy Senior, Pierce Kennedy Junior, and John Burke in 1795. The property was divided before 1800; the Kennedys kept Parcel 20, and Burke received Parcel 21 [NOTE 4].

The Kennedys built a house and barn and fenced in their property [NOTE 5]. It was probably farmed until lay, when the Kennedys sold it to Michael Slattery [NOTE 6]. The land was then given by a sheriff's deed (on account of debt) to John Lorway in 1888 [NOTE 7].

John Burke's lot was inherited by Captain David Burke who "settled and built upon and improved" it [NOTE 8]. David Burke died in 1861, leaving the property to his wife Sarah and his niece Catherine Ryan. Catherine Ryan married Lewis Baldwin of Louisbourg and they occupied the land "for many years," (see plans 864-1 and 944-1) In 1913, Lewis Baldwin conveyed his land to Jane Buckley [NOTE 9].

Parcel 23 was granted by a Crown License to Matthew Kehoe in 1795. It was inherited by his daughter in 1843, and she sold it to John Kennedy in 1846 [NOTE 10]. (see plan 944-1) Kennedy sold the land to William and John Cryer in 1860 [NOTE 11]. (see plan 864-1) John Cryer sold a part of his land to Michael Slattery in 1882 [NOTE 12]. It was then acquired by John Lorway as was parcel 20.

By William Cryer's will of 1887, his land went to his wife, his daughter and Thomas Cahalane of Halifax  [NOTE 13]. His daughter, Elizabeth, still held her portion and her mothers in 1921, but Cahalane sold his to Matthew R. Morrow of Halifax in 1893 [NOTE 14].

Parcel 25 was granted to Michael Slattery in 1882. (see 944-1) It met the same fate as the rest of Slattery's land and eventually passed into the hands of John Lorway's heirs. [NOTE 15]

6. Roads

There is very little documentary evidence for roads in the fauxbourg, and the map evidence often conflicts with the documents. The majority of the plans show only one road, following the coastline quite closely [NOTE 1], although the documentary evidence indicates conclusively that there were two roads. Some plans show a road at a considerable distance from the coast [NOTE 2], and a large number show houses between the road and the sea [NOTE 3]. None of the plans show all three features.

Plan 745-1 shows several roads in the fauxbourg area. Some of these were built by the New Englanders, probably to service their batteries, but it is quite possible that some existed prior to the siege. The English roads from Gabarous Bay are still represented on plan 751-25a.

Plan 757-7 shows a road to Niquet's house, south of the Dauphin curtain pond.

Plan 757-9a shows the "Chemin Royal du Grand Lac de Miré" joining the fauxbourg road at the causeway.

There is considerable inconsistency in the use of terminology in the documents, and the conclusions presented here are based on an attempted reconstruction of the area from the concession records, and on evidence for other roads constructed by the French.

(i) Chronology

It would appear from the official correspondence that the road around the harbour to the Royal Battery, the road to Mira, and the road to La Baleine and Lorembec were considered as one project after 1732. Construction was begun on the Mira ran d in 1727, but the funds for the other two were not granted until 1732.

At this time, the minister hoped that the inhabitants would contribute some labour [NOTE 4]. However, both St. Ovide and Lenormant felt that this would force the inhabitants to abandon their fishing and advised that the labour be provided by a detachment of 70 soldiers with 3 officers to supervise [NOTE 5].

By November of 1732, a contract had been made for the Mira road: the road was to be 12 pieds wide, all tree trunks, rocks, and other obstacles were to be removed, and the bogs filled in so that the road would be practicable for carts and other vehicles [NOTE 6].

Funds were granted annually but the work progressed slowly In 1735, the minister expressed surprise at the expense, and urged, by no means for the last time, that the roads be completed as quickly and cheaply as possible [NOTE 7].

That part of the road which ran from the south to the north coast was built in the spring of 1738; it ran around the barachois and joined the Mira and La Baleine roads [NOTE 8]. This is quite likely the road referred to in two concessions granted in the early 1740's as the chemin neuf du barachois [NOTE 9]. This term indicated that some sort of road had existed in the fauxbourg prior to 1738.

There were complaints in 1739, 1740, and 1741, that the Mira and La Baleine roads were in bad condition. The road from the Dauphin gate to the passage was damaged by a storm in 1740 (see plan 740-1), but was presumably repaired when the dike was constructed in 1741. (see infra p. 17) No further documentary evidence for the condition of the fauxbourg roads or the repairs made to them has been found.

(ii) Construction

The roads were built by soldiers, often after the regular construction season had ended [NOTE 11]. François Vallée, the King's surveyor, was employed for four months in 1733 "directing the construction of a large pavé road with ditches which goes from the port to the Royal Battery"   [NOTE 12]. In 1736, payments were made to two blacksmiths for nails and for repairs to tools, to a carter for transporting supplies, and to a carpenter for building bridges [NOTE 13].

Construction of the roads was a lengthy process, and there were many complaints about the difficulty of the terrain: there were rocks which had to be broken up, bogs to be filled in with fascines and more than 25 streams had to be bridged [NOTE 14].

Boucher gave a detailed analysis of the repairs to be made to the Mira road in 1739 [NOTE 15]. According to this document, the roads were 12 pieds wide with a ditch 4 pieds wide and 2) pieds deep on either side. In some parts, the road was made by laying pickets nice by side. Boucher recommended that the pickets be removed and the centre of the roadbed be raised. Other parts of the road were pave or gravel.

Plan 740-1 shows a cross-section of the road between the Dauphin gate and the Passage; however, there are no ditches shown on this plan.

(iii) Location

There were two roads along the south shore of the barachois. The distance between the two roads varied from 36 toises to 16 toises according to the concessions located to date. It is hard to relate these concessions to the maps; therefore, one cannot be more specific than this. It would appear that the original road ran from the Dauphin gate fairly close to the shore, and was called the chemin du barachois [NOTE 16]. Several concessions were located between the chemin du barachois and the barachois itself. The distance between the road and the barachois varies from 14 toises to 24 toises. (see infra, pp. 44-46)

The second road was built in 1738, and was referred to in two concessions of 1740 and 1741 as the chemin neuf du barachois   [NOTE 17]. This is almost certainly the road referred to in the concessions records of the 1750's as the rue du fauxbourg or the rue d'en haut  [NOTE 18].

In addition to these roads, there was a passage public 18 pieds wide between two properties which lay between the chemin du barachois and the water (see infra, p. 44), and a rue sans nom west of Perrigord's property, which appears to have been south of the rue du Fauxbourg. (see infra, p. 41)

The Parisien - Lartigue property, situated between Lachapelle and Romain (i.e. east of the passage), was bounded on the south by the rue du fauxbourg at a distance of 60 to 69 toises from the sea [NOTE 19]. There is no other indication of a road this far from the shore in the area between the Dauphin gate and the passage.

7. The Passage and Causeways.

One of the more interesting features of the Dauphin fauxbourg is the passage. In 1715, Sieur Antoine Romain was granted a concession on the "grande Grave" and permitted to "keep a boat for the passages." Sieur Parisien was also allowed the same privilege [NOTE 1]. The evidence suggests that Romain ran a ferry service across the passage: in 1722, Sieur Romain was referred to as Saint antoine Le Passager" [NOTE 2].

Sometime before 1733, Romain died and Louis Salmon married his widow. (see infra, p. 32) No evidence has been found to indicate whether Salmon continued the Berry service or not. He hired Parisien as a gardener in 1738, so it is unlikely that Parisien still kept a boat for the Passage [NOTE 3].

The correspondence concerning the proposed causeway at the passage suggests that, until the fauxbourg road was completed in 1738, there was no easy means of access between the south and north coasts:

" communication from the south to the north part of Louisbourg is very easy at present by means of the road which we have had built, which goes around the barachois and joins the Mira and La Baleine roads "   [NOTE 4].

" ... with regard to the bridge [i.e. the proposed causeway], since we completed the roads, communication from one shore to the other is free ..." [NOTE 5].

This could mean that the ferry service was discontinued after 1738. However, in 1753, Guillaume Aufray contracted himself to Louis Frequent, "an inhabitant keeping the passage of the barachois ... principally to row the boat which serves the passage [NOTE 6]. Thus it seems likely that a ferry supplemented the longer land route.

The proposed causeway is shown on plan 739-2. The detailed profiles and elevations were not included in this report because the causeway was not built. The proposal was discussed during the years 1731-1738. It was to provide easy access across the barachois and would provide better facilities for wintering boats in the barachois [NOTE 7].

By 1738, the causeway was not needed for cominunication purposes, but was still required in order to keep the entrance of the barachois clear end to provide a winter harbour [NOTE 8]. Verrier suggested that it be built of earth, revetted in rubble masonry, with an opening 20-22 pieds wide for boats, and a sluice to control the water level. The causeway could include a road, although it was no longer necessary [NOTE 9]. Although a bad storm in January, 1740, convinced deForant and Bigot of the need for the causeway [NOTE 10], the minister decided that construction would have to be postponed [NOTE 11]. Only one plan, 758-6a, indicates that the proposed causeway was built. Plans 745-16 and 16a indicate that the barachois was used "to lay up boats in winter", although the proposed improvements had not been made. The present-day causeway first appears on plan 897-1, and thus was built after the demolition of the fortress.

There is a great deal of correspondence, and a detailed plan, for the proposed causeway across the passage, but nothing appears in the documents concerning the causeway that was actual y built at the west end of the barachois. The road around the barachois was completed in 1738, and the causeway was probably built at this time. It could have been built in the same way as the bridges or drains on the Mira road (see Appendix A), or it could have been built on the same principles as the proposed causeway. Plan 739-2 indicates a sluice or some sort of opening. Plan 745-20 could be interpreted in the same way. Plan 742-3 suggests a bridge with supports. Plan 755-3 calls the causeway a "Bridge over a River." Plan 758-9 shows a substantial arched bridge built of stone or brick. Since no particular mention was made of the causeway, it seems most likely that it was constructed in the same manner as those built on the Mira road at approximately the same date.

8 The Dike

In December of 1738, a very high tide flooded the beach outside the Dauphin gate. Sabatier recommended that a dike be built, similar to the one which had been built at the end of the Dauphin Bastion glacis. It should extend as far as the barachois and would serve to shore up the beach and the entrance to the barachois [NOTE 1].

De Forant and Bigot ordered the inhabitants concerned to gather the wood necessary for the dike during the winter of 1739-40. They stated that only five individuals were involved if the dike went as far as the proposed causeway [NOTE 2]. Unfortunately, a bad storm in January, 1740, caused considerable damage in this area, thereby increasing the cost of the dike. Since many of the inhabitants had lost their shallops and flakes in the storm, de Forant and Bigot suggested that the king should provide the funds [NOTE 3].

Verrier drew up a plan for the dike (plan 740-1), and emphasized the urgency of the project: unless something were done immediately, several houses would be completely destroyed by the next storm [NOTE 4]. His plan indicated that some buildings had already been damaged.

Work on the dike was in progress in October 1740. Some of the inhabitants were able to provide pilings, but Bigot was forced to furnish the rest [NOTE 5]. The dike was completed by December of 1740, at a cost of 1960 livres 18 sole, not including the pilings and labour provided by the well-to-do inhabitants [NOTE 6]. Since the king ordered that the funds for the dike be provided in 1742 [NOTE 7], there can be little doubt that it was built.

In 1756, Franquet revetted the profile of the covered way of the Dauphin Bastion with clayonnage or wattling [NOTE 8]. The extent of this work is shown on plan 758-28, Since this part of the dike had to be repaired, it is quite possible that the rest was also in poor condition, although there is no documentary evidence of this.

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